Holder to the Media: ‘We’re Still Going to Violate the Fourth Amendment, but We’ll Notify You Beforehand’

How magnanimous.

The Justice Department announced Friday it is revising its rules for obtaining records from the news media in leak investigations, promising that in most instances the government will notify news organizations beforehand of its intention to do so.

The revised procedures are designed to give news organizations an opportunity to challenge any subpoenas or search warrants in federal court.

News organizations are to be informed of an impending document demand unless the attorney general determines that notice would pose “a clear and substantial threat to the integrity of the investigation, risk grave harm to national security or present an imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm,” the new rule says.

The rule emphasizes that members of the Justice Department may apply for a search warrant to obtain a journalist’s materials only when that person is a focus of a criminal probe for conduct outside the scope of ordinary newsgathering.

The regulation follows disclosures that the Justice Department secretly subpoenaed almost two months’ worth of telephone records for 21 phone lines used by reporters and editors for The Associated Press. Separately, the department secretly used a search warrant to obtain some emails of a Fox News journalist.

The episodes, which involved leaks of classified material, prompted widespread criticism from lawmakers, the news media and civil liberties groups. President Barack Obama ordered Attorney General Eric Holder to review the Justice Department’s policy for obtaining such material.

The department said its changes are designed to safeguard the essential role of the free press in fostering government accountability and an open society, while protecting national security and law enforcement.

……Jane Kirtley, a University of Minnesota professor of media ethics and the law who speaks often on First Amendment issues, said she was troubled that there remain instances under the new rules in which the government might not notify news organizations of plans to obtain records, such as when the government believes notice would threaten national security.

“It seems that in times of crisis, there’s a tendency to see everything as a major national security breach,” she said. “Obviously the intelligence community is always going to represent security breaches as a big deal. My question is, are they all created equal? Do they all rise to the level of severity to justify what I see as an intrusion into press independence?”

Government accountability; now there’s something that hasn’t happened in a while.  Congress has yet to hold the DOJ accountable for its roles in Fast and Furious ACORN, voter fraud, and refusing to prosecute the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation, let alone tapping into the private emails and phones of reporters.

Obama violated national security when he leaked classified information about the SEAL’s Bin Laden mission, as well as the U.S.-Israeli cyberwarfare against Iran and the use of drones to target and kill muslim terrorists. He’s a walking national security nightmare.

All security breaches aren’t created equal.  And you can bet your ass Holder will intrude as he sees fit.

2 thoughts on “Holder to the Media: ‘We’re Still Going to Violate the Fourth Amendment, but We’ll Notify You Beforehand’”

  1. John Egbert

    Just when you think it isn’t possible for them to sink any lower, you can always count on that racist hack Holder to lower the bar (pun intended) . . .

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